The streets of the Cypresswood Lake subdivision were lined with people, signs and American flags.
"This is the greatest feeling in the world. That place is horrible. That place was horrible. This is awesome," said Heathcock. "This is the best thing I could have ever asked for in my life."
Heathcock's mother was also surprised. She had only asked her neighbors if it would be okay for her to put up welcome home signs for her son.
"The next thing I know, the whole entire neighborhood is putting together a parade and doing this huge welcome. It really threw me for a loop," said Heathcock's mother, Cathy Cordes.
During the 15 months Heathcock was overseas, mother and son stayed in touch via MySpace.
"It's very stressful. You worry a lot. You worry all the time a lot," said Cordes.
Heathcock says he and his fellow soldiers shared concerns over how they would be welcomed home but tonight the soldier has no doubt his service was appreciated.
"I love America. I am never leaving again, not even to visit another country," he said.
Heathcock serves with 82nd Airborne out of Fort Braggs, North Carolina. He's home for 30 days and will then return to North Carolina. Heathcock says he may have to return to Iraq next year.